New Electrical Safety Standards Legislation

As from the 1st July 2020, there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to have an Electrical Safety Inspection Certificate for the property.  The regulations will come into force for new lets AND renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st July 2020 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2021.

It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for the certificate. A copy of the legal provisions is available to read at;

And further guidance at;

What Are the Upcoming Changes?

Landlords have long been required to have any gas installations tested and certified annually.  Electrical Safety Inspections have not been a legal requirement up until now, except for the PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) for free standing appliances, provided with a property for the tenants’ use.

As of 1st July 2020, the rules will be changing in England. This will introduce new standards of electrical safety as well as legal requirements on the service of documents to relevant people.

What are my responsibilities as the landlord of a property in England?

 The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 places a continuous duty on landlords in England to maintain their property to the electrical safety standards and to have evidence of this. This means your property must meet the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations and you must have a report that shows this from a qualified person.

Do the EICR Changes Affect Current Tenancies or Just New Lets?

 July 2020 Changes

If you are renting out a property in England, any tenancy you create or renew on or after 1st July 2020 will require an electrical inspection and a report on the condition of the property (EICR) performed by a qualified person.

After your minimum term expires, your tenancy can run on as a periodic tenancy, but you will still be required to have an electrical safety certificate in place, ie; renewals in this case will INCLUDE ALL statutory periodic (rolling) tenancies that are created at the end of a fixed term on or after this date.

April 2021 Changes

By 1st April 2021, you will need to have an EICR performed on all properties with existing tenancies.  The new rules will apply to all existing lets.

Even if your tenancy is already underway and you have no plans to renew, after 1st April 2021, you will need to have an EICR or you could face fines.

Who do I need to give copies of the EICR to?

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 set out a number of different requirements around providing copies of the EICR to relevant people:

  • The EICR must be given to all of the tenants before they occupy the property.
  • When you replace the EICR you must provide them with a copy of the new report within 28 days of the inspection.
  • If a tenant requests a copy of the EICR in writing, you must also provide them with one within 28 days.
  • Where the local authority requests the EICR you must provide them with a copy of it within seven days or face potential penalties.
  • Any prospective tenants who request a copy in writing must be provided one within 28 days.

 How often do I need to replace the EICR?

The standard EICR lasts 5 years but this can be shorter so you should replace it as often as needed to ensure it remains valid.

 My EICR has indicated a potential breach of the electrical safety standards. What do I do next?

If a breach, or a potential breach, of your duty has been identified you need to have a qualified person either perform the work or investigate further within 28 days. This time limit can be shortened if the report recommends it so you should ensure you are complying with the time frame in the report itself.

Once this has been done you need to ensure you are receiving a written report from the qualified person as quickly as possible. This report needs to state that the electrical safety standards are now being met or that further remedial work is required.

Within 28 days of the work or investigation being carried out you must provide the written confirmation as well as a copy of the report to all of the tenants and the local authority.

Where the follow up investigation recommends further work being done, you must repeat the steps above until the property meets the electrical safety standards.

 What is a qualified person?

The qualified person is someone who is competent to perform the inspections or the works.

The simplest way of identifying a competent person would be to refer to someone with the qualifications laid out in the recent update to the Electrotechnical Assessment Specifications. This includes people with industry recognised apprenticeships or Level 3 Certificates in Level 3 Certificate in Installing, Testing and Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installations in Dwellings.

 Can I self-certify the property?

If you are qualified to check installations to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations and provide a report on it then yes you should be able to self-certify. However, if there are any issues with the property upon inspection by a local authority you would likely be in a worse position than someone who had a qualified person perform the inspection for them.

 What enforcement action can be taken if I do not comply with the regulations?

The local authority is responsible for enforcement and they have a number of powers to act on this.

Firstly, they can issue civil penalties of up to £30,000 per breach of these regulations.

Secondly, where they have identified non-urgent work they must serve the landlord a notice detailing the work required and giving them 28 days to perform the work. The landlord may make representations to this within 21 days of the notice being served. If they do then the local authority must respond to these representations within 7 days. Until they respond the requirement to perform the work is suspended.

Finally, if the local authority is satisfied the landlord is in breach and they have the tenant’s permission to do so, they may perform emergency remedial work on the property and bill the landlord for any costs incurred.